Music as Medicine

I wrote this Music as Medicine piece for the lovely Iris over at Nabalo.com - The Path to Nature, Balance, Love. Here's an excerpt, you can read the rest here!

“Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” - Plato

Music is something that pulses through us, and touches us all uniquely. We’ve all had those moments of getting lost in a song, beautiful music bringing a tear, listening to music while we drive - not just had them, but even daily - feeling like a song respresents our personal life’s movie soundtrack. 

Music is a healing experience. Studies show that it effects mood, depression, and anxiety. I can imagine that whenever our ancestors learned they could make beautiful sounds with their voices, it was immediately something treasured. And when two people combine their voices to make music, all the more powerful. 

Music is Universal Language

Music brings together cultures from all over the planet, ties into sacred ceremonies throughout time, is a key part of rituals from many different beliefs, and also very much enjoyed for pleasure. It is part of our ancestry and lineage. Think about how many different styles and forms of music exist, each one bursting out of a community bit by bit throughout herstory. Music is a huge part of cultures and subcultures all over the planet, and celebrated by so many.  

I chose to write about music today, because it’s a topic that lives close in my heart. I grew up with a lot of music in my life - either through instruments and my voice, or moving my body in motion to music. At times in my youth, I was quite enthusiastic and would attempt to play 5 different instruments at once, be a part of a choir and youth orchestra, and spend hours every day dancing to music. I once did a science project showing how 3 different types of music affected plants, and proved that beautiful music made beautiful looking plants. 

In my adult life, I’ve made space for organized music making in my life a couple of times, and recently have come back to creating music again after missing it for years. I’ve always sung at different times, sometimes a quick little performance and always singing my son to sleep.

We have the capability to create sounds, put words to it or not, and share and show emotion with these audible vibrations. These vibrations can tell a story, they can signify an initiation, they can show an emotion, or they can make you feel in love. Music can celebrate a loved one, it can give people hope, and it can celebrate the birth of a new being. It can be the soundtrack to creating new life or to accompany a psychoactive experience.

What I’m getting at here, is that music can be our direct connection to source, goddess, god, spirit, creation, if we allow it or want it to be. We can hear music in our hearts and in our minds, and they are flowing through all of us. 

Action - Getting Out of a Funk

Put on a playlist or album of music that will encourage you to dance. Play it as loud as you can stand it. If it’s too loud for any surrounding people, put it on headphones. Close your eyes. Now start moving your body. Try slow movements at first, swaying your body, picking up your feet, and move a bit around the room (or bonus points if you’re out on the grass or sand). Let your body feel the music and move accordingly. Let at least an entire song pass by before opening your eyes. Open eyes make it easier to move your body freely and continuously. This is my go-to action for getting myself out of a funk. Getting yourself where you can listen to at least one song is mostly doable for any of us - headphones, in the car, on the computer, speaker system, or whatever it may be. Dance your heart out to 4-5 songs and you’re golden. :-)

Action - Deep Relaxation Challenge

There’s a reason massage therapists and other similar practitioners have music playing in the room, music can be extremely relaxing. Lots of different types of music are relaxing, it’s all unique to each of us. For me personally, soft, sweet, slow sounds made with instruments and voice are very relaxing. Try this at home - put on a long music track - I love this Soundlight Experience here and create a soft cozy place to lie down and close your eyes. The goal is to stay awake and get into a deep state of relaxation in your body, heart, and mind. Let the music flood your being and let your thoughts, any stressful emotions, or experiences from the day flow away. You are free from responsibilities at this time, so put aside any thoughts or concerns or people that may be waiting for you. Allow images and colors to stream into your consciousness and soothe you. The gentle movement of your breath will guide you into an even more relaxed state. For me, the best time to do this is early evening so I’m not too sleepy, but it winds me down for the day. 

Read the rest of this post over on Nabalo.com here!

Posted on February 20, 2015 .